Wild Pig Problem In Hoomaluhia Park

City Using Traps To Capture Feral Pigs

 UPDATED 6:54 AM HST Nov 23, 2011
HONOLULU -

For the past two years, the city has been trying to get an exploding feral pig problem under control at Hoomaluhia Botanical Park in Kaneohe.

Park users said they see feral pigs of all sizes, sometimes in groups of six.

Some said the problem was worse before the city began trapping two years ago. But it has not gone away.

"Just lately this past month in the afternoons, I have seen pigs about three or four times," said Daniel Smith.

City parks director Gary Cabato said the trapping is necessary to protect the public, his staff and the plants.

Cabato pointed out the fresh damage pigs created just this week.

"You can see where it starts. There is the trail that they follow and it leads to the area where it is all rooted," Cabato said.

Last week, staff snapped pictures of three large pigs including a boar.

The city has renewed a contract with the U.S. Agriculture Department to help with the problem.

Cabato said 225 pigs have been caught so far.

The contract with USDA states that snares can also be used, but the city is only using using the more humane box traps for live trappings.

The box traps are set deep in the park, away from the gardens where most of the public visits.

Cabato said the program has helped to avoid the conflicts in the park.

"Pig hunters and campers don?t mix," said Cabato. "There is camping on the weekends, so that?s especially dangerous."

"What the hunters would do is run their dogs off property, but then the pig would run on our property and the dogs would follow, and then the pigs would follow, so the hunters would follow," said Cabato. "If they would catch or kill the pig, the remains they would leave it for my staff to dispose of."

The pigs wallow areas, full of manure and urine, are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria.

The city was also forced to install fencing around the more rare native plants to prevent the destructive rooting in various places around the park.

Cabato said the animal control contract includes all the city botanical gardens.

Koko Head Park has a problem with wild peacocks and the botanical gardens in Wahiawa has issues with feral chickens.

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